This section provides manuals, select Commission reports, DOJ documents, legislative testimony, and other resources that may be helpful in arguing for a non-guidelines sentence under 18 U.S.C. SS3553(a). In addition, please find other useful information covering specific sentencing issues.







    • Supplement to 2018 Sourcebook Table 32
      prepared by the Sentencing Resource Counsel Project using the USSC FY 2018 Individual Datafile
      For FY 2018 the Commission stopped reporting the rate of below-guideline sentences by primary sentencing guideline. This chart supplements Table 32 of the 2018 Sourcebook and provides data on the rate of below-guideline sentences by primary guideline.
    • Fact Sheet: USSC Report on Racial Disparity is Flawed and Being Misused (Jan. 2018)
    • Social Science at Sentencing: An Annotated Bibliography
      by Denise C. Barrett and Laura E. Mate, Sentencing Resource Counsel Project
      Recent research in criminology and other related social and behavioral sciences provides empirical evidence relevant to the purposes of sentencing. This document identifies resources that may be helpful in plea negotiations and sentencing advocacy.
    • Fighting Fiction with Fact to Attain Lower Sentences
      by Laura E. Mate, Denise C. Barrett, and Anne E. Blanchard, Sentencing Resource Counsel Project 
      (Listing research that practitioners can use to debunk common sentencing myths.)
    • Collateral Consequences Resource List
      by Denise Barrett and Sara Silva of the Sentencing Resource Counsel Project
      (This resource list is designed to serve as a starting point for exploring the collateral consequences of convictions and imprisonment and for educating your judge about these "invisible punishments.")
    • Federal Public Defender's Office Sentencing Resource Manual: Using Statistics and Studies to Redefine the Purposes of Sentencing
      Edited by Jennifer Coffin, Research & Writing Specialist, Federal Public Defender's Office, M.D. TN;
      Sarah Gannett, Research & Writing Specialist, Federal Public Defender's Office, D. MD; Molly Roth, Assistant Federal Public Defender, W.D. TX

      A compilation of useful resources that federal defense attorneys can consult when drafting sentencing memoranda and making oral arguments for sentences below the advisory guideline range.

      See Sentencing Resource Counsel Project Summaries of Prior Amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines here.



    • National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction
      This Inventory, created by the ABA Criminal Justice Section, is the first effort to systematically collect in one place the collateral consequences of conviction that exist in the laws and regulations of every state and in the federal system.

    • NACDL Restoration of Rights Project
      This resource provides a collection of individual downloadable documents that profile the law and practice in each U.S. jurisdiction relating to relief from the collateral consequences of conviction.  The profiles include provisions on loss and restoration of civil rights and firearms privileges, legal mechanisms for overcoming or mitigating collateral consequences, and provisions addressing non-discrimination in employment and licensing.  In addition to the 54 jurisdictional profiles, there is a set of 50-state charts that make it possible to see national patterns in restoration laws and policies.

    • Collateral Consequences Resource Center
      Through its website the CCRC provides news and commentary about developments in courts and legislatures, curates practice and advocacy resources, and provides information about how to obtain relief from collateral consequences in various jurisdictions.

    • Five Things About Deterrence (July 2014)
      National Institute of Justice
      This DOJ publication confirms that longer sentences do not deter crime.

    • The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences 
      National Research Council
      This report concludes that given the minimal impact of long prison sentences on crime prevention and the negative social consequences and burdensome financial costs of U.S. incarceration rates, which have more than quadrupled in the last four decades, the nation should revise current criminal justice policies to significantly reduce imprisonment rates. 



  • Defender Letter to Lanny Breuer Regarding Speech at the American Lawyer/National Law Journal Summit
    By David E. Patton, Executive Director, Federal Defenders of New York, Inc.; Margy Meyers, Federal Public Defender, S.D.TX; and Henry Bemporad, Federal Public Defender, W.D. TX
    In this letter, the authors respond to a November 15, 2011 speech by Lanny Breuer, in which he stated, "In short, many prosecutors, defense lawyers, and judges agree that more and more, the length of a defendant's sentence depends primarily on the identity of the judge assigned to the case, and the district in which he or she is in." The authors demonstrate that sentencing "disparities have far more to do with the types of cases that arise in each district, and the prosecution policies that local federal prosecutors have chosen to address these cases" than the identity of the sentencing judge.
  • Memo From AO Dir. Mecham re Statement of Reasons Aug. 13 2001
    This 2001 memo discusses the policy change restricting routine public disclosure of the Statement of Reasons and revised forms for judgments in a criminal case.
  • Allocution Pleading and The Story Behind the Allocution Pleading (Instructions & Client Questionnaire) 
    developed by Tony Lacy, Assistant Federal Public Defender, W.D. OK
    This allocution pleading is created from a set of questions designed to elicit the client's thoughts regarding the predicament he faces, personal circumstances, the sentencing process and sentencing factors.  Counsel across the country have used it countless times since Booker, either as a stand alone pleading or as part of a combined sentencing pleading. 
  • Your Client Will Not Get Mental Health Treatment in Prison: A Primer on How to Back Up That Claim
    by James Tibensky, Mitigation Specialist, Federal Defender Program of Chicago
    This article sets forth data to support an argument that a client should receive a non-prison sentence based on lack of access to mental health treatment through the Bureau of Prisons.


  • Testimony from Joint Economic Committee Hearing on Negative Impacts of Mass Incarceration
    On October 4, 2007, the joint House and Senate Economic Committee held a hearing to "examine why the United States has such a disproportionate share of the world's prison population, as well as ways to address this issue that responsibly balance public safety and the high social and economic costs of imprisonment." The testimony and data from this hearing provide valuable information that may help you create or support sentencing arguments.